KAMLOOPS — 2017 was an unprecedented year with respect to shooting incidents — twice as many as 2016 and the upward trend is a concern for the Kamloops RCMP going into this year.
"I think what we're seeing is the indiscriminate use of guns," said Supt. Brad Mueller. "Certain people carrying guns, and I think I made the analogy that now we're stopping a car and there's associated drug activity to that vehicle. There's probably a good percentage that there may be a firearm."
Mueller says whenever drugs are involved, weapons aren't far behind.
"Certainly when we're conducting search warrants on properties with individuals that are involved in the drug trade, we're almost always finding firearms and modified firearms to engage in criminal activity," he said.
There were 12 shooting incidents in Kamloops in 2017, compared to six in 2016. The most high-profile incident was the murder of Konaam Shirzad, a co-founder of the Red Scorpions gang, in September.
Since then, the Kamloops RCMP has been working to ensure other gangs don't fill the gap left behind by Shirzad.
"The Red Scorpions, and the individuals involved, are one of the major players here in Kamloops in terms of the drug scene," said Mueller. "So now, we've taken steps to identify any potential groups that want to come in and step up. We're certainly aware of a few. There's a number of independents. There's a number of individuals that are associated that have organized crime ties."
Mueller admitted on Monday the Red Scorpions still have a presence in the city, despite Shirzad's death.
"I think there's individuals that have some affiliation to the Red Scorpions. There are individuals that are in this community that have affiliations to a number of gangs. It's up to us to continue to gather intelligence against those people and take disruptive enforcement action against them," noted Mueller.
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